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Authors: Christie Matheson

Salty Sweets

BOOK: Salty Sweets
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Table of Contents

Title Page

Table of Contents








Salted Caramels

Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles

Nana Rodda's Peanut Butter Fudge

Perfectly Imperfect Pecan Pralines

Almond Brittle

Salty-Sweet S'Mores

Black-and-White Almond Bark

Sweet and Salty Pecans

Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt Crostini

Old-Fashioned Kettle Corn

Dark Chocolate-Covered Pretzels

Chocolate-Coconut Mini Candy Bars

Decadent Hot Cocoa

Sweet Cornbread with Honey Butter

Cocoa Nib and Dried Cherry Granola


Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Nantucket Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies

Lemon Sugar Cookies with Zesty Lime Salt

Lavender Fleur De Sel Shortbread


Butterscotch Brownies

Toffee Cookies with Dark Chocolate Glaze

Raspberry Squares

Pecan Squares

White Chocolate-Apricot Squares

Citrus Bars


Very Vanilla Cake

Dark Chocolate Fleur De Sel Cupcakes with Snappy Butterscotch Icing

Mini Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream Frosting

Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

Almond-Orange Torte

Kickass Carrot Cake with Maple-Cream Cheese Frosting

Cranberry Coffee Cake

Lemon Cake with Lemon-Brown Sugar Glaze


Caramel-Butterscotch Pudding

Coconut Rice Pudding

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

Milk Chocolate-Peanut Butter Mousse

Maple Crème Brûlée


Berry Berry Shortcakes

Cornmeal Peach Crisp

Brown Sugar Apple Crisp

Individual Blueberry-Nectarine Crumbles

Cherry Johnnycake Cobbler

Walnut-Crusted Lemon Tart

Fig and Ricotta Pizza

Roasted Summer Fruits

Oatmeal-Crusted Banana Tart

Honey-Tangerine Caramel Truffle Tartlets


Nantucket Sea Salt Ice Cream

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Bittersweet Chocolate Ice Cream

Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Almond Ice Cream

Butterscotch Ice Cream

Coconut Sorbet

Watermelon Sorbet


Salted Milk Chocolate Sauce

Nana's Peanut Butter Sauce

Snappy Butterscotch Sauce

Caramel-Fudge Sauce

Blackberry-Caramel Sauce

Strawberry–Brown Sugar Sauce

Cinnamon-Sugar Sauce

Drunken Sauce

Graham Cracker Crunch

Brown Sugar Whipped Cream

Measurement Equivalents


The Harvard Common Press
535 Albany Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02118

Copyright © 2009 by Christie Matheson
Photographs copyright © 2009 by Joyce Oudkerk Pool

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any
means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval
system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Printed in China
Printed on acid-free paper

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Matheson, Christie.
Salty sweets : delectable desserts and tempting treats with a sublime kiss of salt / Christie Matheson.
p. cm.
Includes index.
ISBN 978-1-55832-415-2
1. Desserts. I. Title.
TX773.M294 2009

Paper-over-board edition: ISBN 978-1-55832-556-2

Special bulk-order discounts are available on this and other Harvard Common Press books. Companies and
organizations may purchase books for premiums or resale, or may arrange a custom edition, by contacting the
Marketing Director at the address above.

Book design by Elizabeth Van Itallie
Photography by Joyce Oudkerk Pool
Food styling by Jen Straus
Props by Tabletop Prop

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

To my mom, Pat Matheson, who always encouraged me to play in the kitchen


Thanks to my agent, Stacey Glick, who is endlessly supportive and thoughtful—and who shares my specific fondness for peanut buttery salty sweets. I'm lucky to know you. Thanks to The Harvard Common Press for understanding the vital importance of a book about salty sweets. Working with the team at HCP—Valerie Cimino, Jane Dornbusch, Virginia Downes, Janice Geary, Pat Jalbert-Levine, Vicki Rowland, Howard Stelzer, and Betsy Young—is truly a pleasure. Thank you all for taking such good care of me! Thanks to Joyce Oudkerk Pool for the pretty pictures, and to Jen Straus for lovely, unfussy food styling. Thanks to the pastry chefs who inspire me with their creativity and imagination, especially Joanne Chang, Gale Gand, and Elisa Strauss. Thanks to everyone who taste-tested recipes—it's not always easy to give honest feedback, and I appreciate it greatly. (Quick shout-out to first-time guinea pig Sydney James, who took a bite of an ice cream test, made a face, and told me she didn't like it at all.) Thanks to my brother, Seth Matheson, for sharing ideas about food and dreaming up wacky combinations. Most of all, thanks to Will Adams, who is willing to try anything I make and who makes every day so sweet.


In gratitude to organizations working to end hunger locally and around the world, I am donating a portion of the proceeds from
Salty Sweets
to the Greater Boston Food Bank (
), the San Francisco Food Bank (
), and the United Nations World Food Programme (


My favorite sweets are the ones that excite the palate and stimulate a whole bunch of taste buds. What's the point of indulging in a sweet treat if it's not going to knock your socks off? Disappointing desserts are so ... disappointing. I don't want to have to eat a whole plate of cookies or a ginormous piece of cake to feel satisfied. I like sweets that are so darn good that a little goes a long way—as long as I can resist the temptation to sneak an extra bite. That kind of temptation, mind you, is quite different from one that leads you mindlessly and repeatedly to eat spoonfuls of flavorless ice cream from the carton or handfuls of bland cookies that aren't really doing it for you. (Um, not that I've ever done that.)

A few years ago I realized that the most satisfying and rewarding sweets are the ones that have something going on other than straight-up sweetness. Sweet is sweet, but it can be kind of one-dimensional. But when you add a
element to said sweet—even if the result is not an overtly salty flavor—the treat in question gets seriously amped up.

I'm not the only one who thinks so. Salty-sweet desserts are showing up more and more often on menus at outstanding restaurants all over the country. When friends rave about a caramel they just tried or gush about a new ice cream flavor, it almost always has some kind of salty component. At one of the trendy gourmet cupcake shops in San Francisco, when
fleur de sel
chocolate cupcakes are that day's special, they always sell out. Grownups love salty sweets, and so do kids (hello, PB & J sandwiches)—and they will devour the Chocolate Chip Cookies that you'll find on

Of course, salt has always been an important part of baking. Many recipes use it as a leavening agent, and the recipes in this book do, too. But salt is also important to the flavor of a dessert, beyond its pure chemical function. Making salty sweets isn't about dumping a little extra salt into every dessert you make, though. If something is too salty, it won't taste good.

When I was growing up, I loved to experiment in the kitchen, and I was very lucky to have a mom who let me do that. One day when I was about eight years old, I wanted to make chocolate chip cookies. I read the recipe and told my mom I didn't think cookies needed any salt. She tried to explain, but I didn't want to listen. "Okay," she said. "Try them without salt and see what you think." Not so good.

Salt, when used judiciously, heightens the flavors of foods and stimulates the palate—sometimes sending it into ecstatic excitement when combined with the right other ingredients. It brings out the complexities of chocolate, highlights the subtleties of fruit, and makes the flavor of nuts pop. It transforms traditional sweet flavors like caramel and butterscotch into something truly special. To me, there's nothing as mouthwatering and delicious as a good salty sweet.

Salty sweets don't have to be complicated to taste good. Most of the recipes in this book are pretty simple, in fact. They can even be as simple as a recipe that my husband, Will, came up with when he was in second grade. Will's mother, Lee, gave it to me when we got engaged—it's written in very careful handwriting on lined school paper (the teacher graded him with a smiley face), and I love it. Here's what he wrote: "Make some peanut butter candy. You need 1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup corn syrup, 1¼ cups powdered milk, 1¼ cups powdered sugar. First mix it. Roll it into little balls. Then ea it." (He forgot the "t" in eat.) The peanut butter is the salty-sweet element, and you might add ¼ teaspoon of fine sea salt, too. There you have it—a simple salty sweet. I hope you enjoy it—and the other recipes in this book, too.

A Few Random Thoughts On Making Sweets

Though I've spent countless hours in restaurant and bakery kitchens working with chefs on their cookbooks, I am first and foremost a home cook and baker. But I've learned a lot from watching chefs in action. The key thing that they all seem to do: Hire a staff of eager young cooks and dishwashers. If you do that, your baking life will quickly get easier. No? Your kitchen staff isn't arriving anytime soon? Mine isn't either. So keep a few of these concepts in mind.

Mise en place!
This translates from the French to "set in place," and it means getting all your ducks in a row before you begin a recipe (or at least getting all your ingredients in a row). It's the reason Food Network chefs always look like they're breezing through the kitchen effortlessly: Everything is ready already. Ingredients are measured, mixer attachments are located, and bowls are cleaned and dried. Taking time to get set up before you start a recipe makes life so much easier, and it saves you time and frustration throughout the process. This is especially important in baking, because precise measurements matter and timing is often crucial.

BOOK: Salty Sweets
10.13Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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